PLEASE NOTE: This post was written on 12 June 2019, but I am only posting it today for certain specific reasons.
In just 4 days, we will be leaving Dubai, the place which has been our home for almost 3 years now, to begin a new adventure to the Land of Maple Leaves and Snow.
And although I am super excited, I am also currently rather stressed out, as there are still so many things to do before we leave. I feel like our to-do list is 5 feet long and I am not even done with 1% of it. 😥 It’s especially hard since we don’t have any family or friends in New Brunswick to lean on for support (and free accommodation, haha 🙂 )
But, I know Z and I can do this. We’ve worked so hard to achieve our Canadian Dream, and we are almost at the finishing line, so I will not allow any room for negative vibes or panicked chaos.
With God’s guidance and help, we will get through our landing and settling in NB smoothly, and many years from now, when we are so Canadian that we will have maple syrup in our blood, we will look back on this with fondness and laughter, in Sha Allah. 🙂 🙂
So the 3 main things for us currently are:
1. Settlement Funds
3. Accommodation in Fredericton
Whether or not you want to take ALL of your settlement funds with you when you go to Canada is up to you.
Some people do take all their money with them (in cash and/or travellers’ cheques, etc.), and some people just take a certain amount of cash and/or travellers’ cheques, and leave the rest in their bank/fixed deposit accounts, and take proof of funds available (like bank statements, balance statements, etc.)
We decided to do the latter, since the money from my provident fund account (which is a South African account) would take a minimum of 30 days to be released and processed before reflecting in my account. And that’s if we were still in South Africa. With us being in the UAE currently, that timing would certainly increase and since we were travelling in a few days, I didn’t have the time (or honestly, the energy) for this.
So Z and I will be pooling our money from our 2 UAE bank accounts together, converting it to US or Canadian Dollars (depends on the exchange rate – which is slightly high right now), and taking it with us to Canada as cash. The advantage is that neither of us will then be carrying more than CAD 10K (I doubt we will be carrying 10k CAD combined – we are poor broke people), so there will be no need to declare when we land. We will just inform the CBSA officer of the amount on us when asked.
We want to carry enough cash so that it lasts us at least 1-2 months in Canada, in which time we should be able to secure jobs in Sha Allah.
UPDATE 1: We decided to buy Canadian dollars from a Money Exchange. Even though the exchange rate was still slightly high (CAD 1 = 2.84 AED), the total amount we will be able to show (cash + provident fund) is above the minimum amount required by CIC for 2 people (although less than we originally declared in our application), which is fine.
UPDATE 2: I am EXTREMELY excited and happy to announce that by the grace of God, at the end of May, I had actually secured a job with a company in Fredericton as a Software Developer alhumdulillah. THAT was the reason why we moved up our landing date in Fredericton and why we have been rushing around the past month to ensure we reach Canada by mid-June. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we were not about to let it go.
PLEASE NOTE: Although according to the CIC website, you do not need to show Proof of Funds if you have a job offer in Canada, this does NOT apply to our situation as this is not a LMIA-exempt position and I had only received the job offer AFTER getting the PR visa and BEFORE landing in Canada. So we STILL have to show that we have the minimum settlement funds for 2 people when we land.
We had looked around on different websites, like Skycanner, and at different airlines, like KLM, Air Canada, and EgyptAir, but in the end we decided to go with Emirates Airlines.
Although slightly more expensive, Emirates had the advantage of being a direct flight to Toronto (even though that meant a continuous 14 hour journey), and we were also able to book our connecting flight to Fredericton at the same time through Emirates’ partner airlines WestJet.
Added advantage was that we could book our goods to follow (which we ended up having) through Emirates SkyCargo, so that hopefully all our cargo would arrive at the same time as us.
UPDATE 1: Our Cargo did not arrive at the same time, alas. It is due to arrive next week and only up to Toronto. We had to book overland transportation to get our boxes from Toronto Pearson to Fredericton. Addtional costs as always. Oh well.
Our arrival time at Toronto Pearson International airport was estimated at 9.30 in the morning, but since we did not know how long the immigration process may take, we booked our connecting flight to Fredericton at 7.30 in the evening. So yes, we would have to wait until the following morning to see what Fredericton really looked like, but we didn’t mind.
UPDATE 2: The immigration process was pretty smooth and straightforward (more on this in my next post). We completed everything in about 45 minutes to an hour – including collecting our luggage and going through customs. But it was a good thing we booked the latter connecting flight to Fredericton, as it would have been a bit of a mad rush for us, otherwise.
PLEASE NOTE: The airlines are EXTREMELY strict with regards to the weight of your luggage, both from Dubai to Toronto, and from Toronto to Fredericton. When they say 23 kg, they mean precisely 23 kg. They may be lenient for up to 1 kg extra (it depends on the person at the check-in counter), but that’s about it. Anything more than that, and you will either have to get rid of some things, or pay an excess baggage fee.
Also note, the security officers in Toronto Pearson Terminal 3 go through your hand luggage quite thoroughly, and they can and will throw away any liquids (including lotions and creams) that are more than 100ml. So make sure you don’t have anything like that in your cabin bags and laptop bags.
Although several previous NBPNP residents had rented their apartments even before landing in New Brunswick, neither Z nor I were comfortable with renting an apartment in Fredericton without looking at it for ourselves first. So we looked at the available AirBnbs and hotels in the area, to book for a week or at most 10 days, since we hope to find an apartment as soon as possible after we land.
Rent on the north side of the river is slightly cheaper in Fredericton, but the south side has more amenities, and also my soon-to-be workplace is located on the south side as well. So after talking with some of the other recently landed PRs, as well as doing our own research (of course!), we decided to look for apartments on the south side. Hopefully, we will find something to our liking soon, as an apartment – or rather, a permanent address – is very necessary for quite a few things we needed to do in New Brunswick as newly landed PRs.
UPDATE: We booked into a hotel as planned, initially for a week, and we have already looked at a few apartments, 2 of which we liked. We hope to make a final decision on the apartment within the next couple of days.
So now we are almost at the destination we have worked so hard towards for so long. Some of my fellow NBPNP nominees have already landed and are slowly settling in, and they have been a tremendous help to those of us following, giving us helpful tips and information. I hope to give the same helping hand to those who are still in the process of their Canadian dream, and those who will soon be stepping foot on Maple Leaf Country in the next few weeks and months.
From Z and me, welcome my fellow Canadians! 🙂